Lean 5S Products

Shadow boards are a pivotal tool in implementing the 5S system, a methodology that creates and maintains an organized, clean, and efficient workspace. Originating from five Japanese words that translate to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain, the 5S system enhances productivity and safety. 

Incorporating 5S shadow boards into this system allows for the visual management of tools and equipment, ensuring they are stored neatly and are easily accessible. In this article, we will explore what shadow boards are and why they are essential for a workspace. 

What are 5s shadow boards?

5S shadow boards are organizational tools used within the framework of the 5S methodology, a lean management system that aims to improve efficiency and optimize workspace organization. 

The 5S principles are Sort (Seiri), Set in order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso), Standardize (Seiketsu), and Sustain (Shitsuke). These principles guide organizations in creating and maintaining an organized, clean, efficient workspace conducive to higher productivity and safety.

Shadow boards directly support the second principle, “Set in order,” by providing a visual and physical place for tools and equipment. They are typically boards or panels where tools are stored, with outlines or “shadows” marked around each tool’s location.

Sort (Seiri):

The first step in the 5S methodology involves going through all tools, materials, and items in a workspace and keeping only what is necessary for the tasks at hand. 

Unnecessary items are removed, reducing clutter and freeing up space. This step helps identify and eliminate waste, ensuring that everything in the workspace is essential to the work.

Set in Order (Seiton):

Set in Order focuses on organizing and arranging the necessary items so that they are easily accessible and can be quickly retrieved and returned to their designated places. This principle advocates for a place for everything and everything in its place. 

Implementing this step effectively can significantly reduce the time wasted searching for tools or materials, thus enhancing efficiency.

Shine (Seiso):

Shine emphasizes regularly cleaning the workspace and equipment to maintain a neat and orderly environment. This step is not just about surface cleaning but also involves inspecting the equipment and workspace for defects, wear, and tear that could lead to inefficiency or accidents. 

Regular cleaning helps maintain a pleasant work environment and encourages respect for the workspace and pride in work.

Standardize (Seiketsu):

Standardize is about establishing standards and procedures for the first three steps (Sort, Set in Order, and Shine) to ensure consistency across the organization. 

This involves creating schedules, checklists, and guidelines so everyone understands their responsibilities in maintaining the workspace’s organization, cleanliness, and efficiency. 

Standardizing these processes ensures that the 5S system is applied uniformly and sustained over time.

Sustain (Shitsuke):

Sustain focuses on developing habits and disciplines to maintain the standards set by the previous steps and continuously improve the workspace. 

This principle involves training, communication, and regular audits to ensure that 5S practices are followed and identify improvement areas. 

Sustain is about making 5S a part of the organizational culture, ensuring the system’s benefits are lasting and continuously enhanced.

What are the benefits of a custom shadow board in a workspace?

Custom shadow boards in a workspace streamline the organization, enhance safety, and improve productivity by providing a tailored solution to tool management and accessibility. 

These boards are designed specifically for the unique needs of a workspace, ensuring that every tool and piece of equipment has a designated, easily identifiable place.

Tailored Organization

  • Custom shadow boards are designed to fit the tools and equipment used in a workspace, ensuring each item has a perfectly sized and shaped slot. 
  • This tailored organization reduces clutter and makes it easier for employees to find and return tools, significantly improving efficiency and reducing time spent searching for items.

Enhanced Safety

  • Custom shadow boards reduce the risk of accidents caused by misplaced or improperly stored equipment by clearly outlining where each tool should be stored. 
  • This visibility ensures that tools are safely returned to their designated spots, minimizing trip hazards and improving workplace safety.

Improved Productivity

  • With tools and equipment organized and easily accessible, employees spend less time looking for what they need, allowing for more time to focus on productive tasks. 
  • This optimized workflow leads to faster task completion and more efficient use of time, directly impacting the bottom line.


In conclusion, integrating 5S shadow boards into a workspace significantly enhances organization, safety, and productivity. By employing the 5S principles and customizing shadow boards to meet specific needs, businesses can create a more efficient, safer, and more productive environment, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence.